An A-Team Member’s Perspective

 

Matthew Underhill at NetApp INSIGHT 2019

This year’s NetApp INSIGHT conference was one for the books! As always, it was chock full of great content. For me, the highlight of the conference was the chance to learn about some of the partnerships NetApp has with other vendors and how they could better help me to achieve my goals.

 

The Mega Sessions, a new breakout format for this year’s conference, were excellent showcases of the latest NetApp® solutions, and I absolutely loved the Innovation Face-Off. Of course, I have to mention the great “Ask the A-Team” session (featuring my fellow NetApp A-Team members Mark CarltonPaul StringfellowChris MakiBecky Elliott, and Mike Palic about building a modern data platform. The short story is that you really need to know what data you have and what it’s doing. Once you have a handle on your data, you can start building your very own data fabric.

 

The format for the keynote was slightly different from those in years past. I appreciated the focus on my needs and interests as a customer, as well as the real-world examples. It gave me an idea of how I might want to build a data fabric. If you want a refresher or didn’t get to see it, you can now stream a video recording of the keynote.

 

One of my favorite takeaways from the keynote came from none other than Kate Swanborg of DreamWorks. She mentioned something really powerful about building your data fabric: It’s not just a single fabric, but multiple layers, one building on another (sort of like an onion, or a parfait!). Kate presented the four distinct data fabric layers that make up the DreamWorks infrastructure: production, protection, analytics, and automation.

 

As always, there was plenty of action in the expo hall. The NetApp A-Team was posted up at the Social Media hub, and we had a great time talking with customers and partners about all things NetApp. As part of the hub, we had our own podcast booth, where various podcast programs were doing live episodes from the expo floor. I had the privilege of being part of the world-famous TechStringy podcast! We had a great chat about how real IT people deliver IT. Give it a listen.

 

This year, there was something rather special at the Social Media hub: We had the A-Team van from the original TV show. This was a super-fun photo opportunity and a chance to relive fond memories.

 

NetApp University’s stand was also a great place to be—this year they had a virtual reality game! Be sure to check them out to keep your certification skills strong.

 

I am looking forward to the London NetApp INSIGHT roadshow in 2020. If you plan on going, look for the #NetAppATeam—we’d love to chat with you. We hope to see you there!


Matthew Underhill

Matt is the Head of Global Infrastructure at Alfred H Knight (AHK) based in Liverpool, UK. AHK has been providing scientific support to the mining industry since 1881. Matt has over a decade of IT experience, and has been working with NetApp since 2016. When he's not designing and implementing IT infrastructure at work, he can be found in front of his BBQ/smoker working on perfecting the perfect smoked delights. He's also an animal lover, with a whole farm's worth of critters in his back garden. Matt would say he's an "urban chicken keeper, a Jack Russel tamer, and a rabbit wrangler."